Landon Donovan has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the 2014 MLS season.
The veteran LA Galaxy star took to Facebook to confirm the decision after various reports had made reference to his retirement plans.
MLS reporter Taylor Twelman broke the news Tuesday, with Donovan's MLS franchise the Los Angeles Galaxy hinting at the move earlier in the day when they alerted Twitter followers of a "big announcement" ahead.
Undoubtedly the greatest player ever to emerge from the United States, the 35-year-old has enjoyed a stellar 16 year career which has seen him grace the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, and FIFA World Cup as well as Major League Soccer.
Having missed out on Jurgen Klinsmann's 23-man World Cup roster earlier this summer it appeared that Donovan's career was winding down but the official announcement - which comes just hours after he scored the winning goal in MLS All-Star's 2-1 win over Bayern Munich - will still be a shock to many fans of the game.
In his extensive statement Landon Donovan spoke of the mixed emotions evoked by his decision to step away from the game, thanking previous teammates and coaching staff - as well as singling out the fans for their support - before talking of his future plans:
"I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person," he explained.
With Donovan amongst the first US players to become a true world star, and having been the face of MLS since his emergence back in the 2000s, he also spoke of his excitement about helping others to develop their careers:
"As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States. I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life."
Landon Donovan began his career with Bayer Leverkusen in 1999 and has spent time with San Jose Earthquakes, Bayern Munich, and Everton in the years proceeding.
LA Galaxy has been the club with whom Donovan is best associated with however, with the attacking midfielder having made 229 appearances for the MLS franchise.
He also holds the record for most goals scored in the US domestic league, surpassing his the previous record back in May with his 135th and 136th goals.
Add to that his impressive 57 goals for the US (also a record) and it has been a truly spectacular run for Donovan. Representing the nation at three World Cups he became a talisman for the national side as the game grew in the United States.
Fans still have several months to watch Landon Donovan on the soccer field, and with the Galaxy making a late surge to be involved in the playoff picture who knows perhaps he could end his career lifting the MLS cup for one final time.
What comes after that for the veteran is unclear as yet. He has spoken of an interest in coaching in the past and recently spent time as an TV analyst during the World Cup and he won't be lacking in offers.
For now though it only seems right to appreciate the player that Landon Donovan has been over the past 15 years.
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